WHB #277: Urap Sayuran (Javanese Mixed Vegetable Salad with Spiced Grated Coconut)

I swelled. (Oh, no! Mayday! Mayday!)

This was because I've been skipping yoga class for a month now, while my appetite increases since returning from Yogyakarta. You know, there were too much indulging delicacies. In result, I gained several pounds. And when exceed my normal weight I always feel heavy, limp and easily get sick. Very unpleasant. So, guess it's diet time until my weight back to normal.

As a start, today I make urap sayuran. A mixed vegetable salad 'dressed' with spiced grated coconut, that usually served as side dish of Javanese traditional yellow rice (especially in Central part of Java island). This is a sample of Indonesian simple dish; the vegetable are blanched and the coconut dressing is steamed or toasted with refined spices. Then both tossed together. As simple as that.

I have a new mortar and pestle which I brought in Beringharjo market, Yogyakarta, almost two weeks ago. Now is the time to play with it!

Trying the new mortar and pestle.

Javanese Mixed Vegetable Salad with Spiced Grated Coconut
(Urap Sayuran, adapted from The Best of Indonesian Cooking)

  • 3 shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 5 red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon coriander (roasted)
  • 1½ teaspoons of chopped kencur (Kaempferia galanga)
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves (finely chopped)
  • ½ tablespoon tamarind
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons palm sugar
  • 250 g grated coconut
  • 50 g carrot (peeled, cut in fingers with 2 cm lengths)
  • 50 g white cabbage (sliced)
  • 50 g cassava leaves
  • 50 g string beans (cut in 2 cm lengths)
  • 25 g bean sprouts
  • 25 g winged bean (sliced)

Urap sayuran (Javanese mixed vegetable salad with spiced grated coconut).

Preparation method:
  1. Refine shallot, garlic, chili, coriander, kencur, kaffir lime leaf, tamarind, salt and palm sugar until become paste.
  2. Mix the paste with grated coconut, and steam for 15 minutes. (Or toast it until aromatic if you'd prefer.) Remove and allow to cool.
  3. In boiling water, blanch the bean sprout for 1 minute. Drain and set aside. Boil the rest of the vegetable until tender, then drain and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, toss vegetable and spiced grated coconut altogether.
  5. Serve with mixed rice and fried yellow bean curd.
Yield 6 serves.

Served with mixed rice and fried yellow bean curd. Yum!

It is not necessarily carrot, nor string bean, nor bean sprout, nor cassava leaf, nor winged bean. You can substitute with spinach, water spinach, papaya bud, papaya leaf, kenikir leaf, or maybe add some lime basil leaf—or even stink bean if you like. Just experiment with your taste. It won't matter because the core of the dish is the spiced grated coconut. The scent of kencur is highly evocative.

Kencur, or loosely translated as lesser galangal, is widely used in Asian culinary. It has a peppery camphorous taste that it commonly used as spice in Indonesia, especially in Java and Bali, as well as in Malay, Thailand and China. It also has potential medicinal use for treating indigestion, colds, pectoral, abdominal pains, headache, toothache, rheumatism, and also a potent insecticides.

I have read in some articles that urap sayuran is perfect for diet or vegetarians. While it meets my need right now, I think this is an interesting topic to share in Weekend Herb Blogging event too. I'm going to sent submission to this week's host. So, bye bye for now. Take care, dear.

This post is also linked to Weekend Herb Blogging #277.
This week's WHB is hosted by Susan, The Well-Seasoned Cook. Read the full round up of superb recipes around the globe here.


Indonesian Cooking With Komikoo.Com: (Kari Kambing dan) Roti Jala

This is an intermezzo. I tried making a comic a few weeks ago. It was a submission for an event at a local online comic community. They have a monthly comic event with theme, and this March is all about Indonesian cooking. Could it be more appealing to me? Nope.

My comic was a simple slice of life story with simple drawing. It is in Indonesian, entitled Kari Kambing dan Roti Jala. (Yes, the strikethroughs was meant to be on the title.) Here's the result..

Page 01.
Page 02.

I am not a comic artist, per se, and personally I think that making comic is more difficult than making a flash animation. I do, really do. Most notably because making a good comic requires the ability to communicate the idea into well designed panels, in a way readers can understand the story we're trying to tell.

It was hard to be persisted in sketching characters repetitively, in various gesture of expressions. Especially if you're not wonted. But, worth to try.. Right?

This comic is a submission for Komikoo.com Event Maret 2011: Masakan Indonesia. Komikoo.com is an online community of comic lovers in Indonesia. Read and rate this comic here.


Go Healthy with Mixed Rice (Is Our Topic Today)

(Left to right) black rice, brown rice, white medium-grain rice, unmilled medium-grain rice, wheat, job's tears.

Once my housemate, Vicky, asked me, 'Do you ever run out of topic for the blog?'

Ohoho. Of course, I did. Most notably in the early days of Slurp! (my first food blog). But after a year learn about blogging, I think I began to accustomed to it. Now, each time is like I'm doing a storytelling about food and words come out just like that. There's always a reason to write. (Whenever I have time to—now this is the hardest part.)

For example, at the current moment I am crazy about a mixed rice dish consists of black rice, brown rice, white rice, unmilled white rice, wheat and job's tears (as known as vyjanti beads or Chinese pearl barley).

This mixed rice is a new experience for me. Some of you might have already know about it, but some other might not. Thus we can see food as a matter of culture, and we know how our culture differs. It's not merely about the influence of our surrounding but also our preferences above all. And, differences make us learn. When we learn, we grow. So I think, in this case, it is a good idea to share about the mixed rice. There, I already have a topic for today.

The mixed rice.

I first bought bought a 250 g pack of this at a food market around my neighborhood last week. It turned out to be more fibrous than the regular medium-grain white rice I used to cook. I think it is a clever idea to mix several kind of rice with grain and job's tears. It is easy, and most importantly healthy. Okay, I might not know its precised nutrition and calories per serving. But I know it tasted delish as well as good for digestion.

Care to taste it, anyone? Let's try making it on our own.

Mixed rice with garlic.

Mixed Rice with Garlic

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 cloves garlic (bruised)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 50 g basmati rice
  • 50 g brown rice
  • 50 g unmilled rice
  • 50 g black rice
  • 25 g job's tears
  • 25 g wheat/grain
  • 550 ml low-salt broth

Preparation method:
  1. In a pan, heat olive oil then add butter until melted. Add garlic, stir until aromatic, and salt.
  2. Rinse the rice, add into the pan until all grain coated with oil. Add barley and wheat, stir for 3 minutes.
  3. Pour broth and coconut milk to the pan, bring to boil. Then turn the heat into very low, put the lid on and cook for 30 minutes. (Or put in jar cooker.)
  4. Stir carefully, put the lid back on and cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. Turn off the heat, keep the lid on for 5 minutes before serving.
Yield 4-5 serves.

Tips: If you're using jar cooker, unplug the power cord whenever rice is cooked. Open the lid, and let cool. Re-heat before serving. This will help the durability of rice, so it's not easily stale/smell.

Easy healthy side dish. Yum!

Happy Earth Hour, 26 March 2011 8.30-9.30 PM local time.

This post is also linked to Simple Lives Thursday #36.
The food blog event is hosted by four awesome bloggers from Iowa: Diana, Annette, Alicia and Wardeh.
This post is also submitted to Cooking with Seeds March 2011: Wheat Berry.
This month's food blog event is hosted by Suma from Veggie Platter.
This post is also submitted to Wholesome Wholegrain Cooking March 2011: Barley for Breakfast. This month's food blog event is hosted by Priya from Priya Easy n Tasty Recipes.


Save (and Share) It For A Rainy Day: Ginger Clove Cinnamon Milk with Honey

The part of Bandung in which I currently reside is rather cold-temperature for a tropical land. In rainy season, usually the end of the year, it is very wet here with a quite high rainfall rate. Even more than Bogor, my hometown, which was popular as Kota Hujan—literally translated as rain city (kota means city and hujan means rain).

Now Bandung become the new Kota Hujan while Bogor is more appropriate to be called Kota Angkotangkot is abbreviation for angkutan kota, loosely translated as urban transportation. As (I think) there were more angkot units than the number of passengers that can be transported, nor, number of vehicles that can be accommodated by the roads of that commuter town.

Because Bogor public transportation colored with green and blue, our distance imaging must be consists of irregular blue-green tiny, lengthy, serpents. Or at least I imagine it that way..

Anyway, the climate of Bandung is fluctuating lately. It fluctuates without any notice, just like our WiFi connections. Sometimes sweltering and the other time freezing with the bitter cold wind. Such weather usually makes our body (mine, to be exact) more susceptible to catch flu and/or fever.

My family used to make wedang jahe (Indonesian ginger tea) to prevent any disadvantages from weather like these. Honestly, I used to dislike this Javanese traditional beverage because of the intense minty peppery taste. Until one night in February. It was rainy and I was trouble sleeping, my body weakened from cold and my temperature raised. There were no drugs in my first aid box but ginger and palm sugar in the kitchen, so, I had no other choice than made a cup of wedang jahe. And it worked very well.

Later I made it almost every night, and started to add things into my recipe until eventually it developed into ginger clove cinnamon milk with honey.

Ginger, clove, cinnamon, milk, honey.

Ginger Clove Cinnamon Milk with Honey
(Susu Rempah dengan Madu)

  • 600 ml fresh milk
  • 1½-2 tablespoons sliced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 5 cm cinnamon
  • 1½ tablespoon palm sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons honey

Preparation method:
  1. In a saucepan, put milk with the rest of the ingredients. Bring to boil in simmer heat, for about 30 minutes.
  2. Drain the remnants, add honey.
Yield 2 serves.

It is dead simple. For beginners, with less ingredients and minimum amount of time. Yet, powerful enough to expel cold. If you don't like milk, you can always substitute it with water. But I think milk makes it great.

What could be better for a rainy day (or night) than a cup of hot milk, warm blanket, some good music and a book? Or perhaps a movie? Or even a few rounds of game board with your friends? Don't forget to share this ginger clove cinnamon milk with honey with your beloved Honey. Enjoy!

Save and share it in the rainy day.

This post is also linked to Any One Can Cook: Series 20.
Any One Can Cook is a weekly food blog event hosted by Ayeesha from Taste of Pearl City.
This post is also linked to Simple Lives Thursday #35. The food blog event is hosted by Diana, Annette, Alicia and Wardeh. (This post is also voted as one of Alicia's favorites of the week! Thank you.)
This post is also linked to Treat To Eyes: Series-2.
Treat To Eyes is a weekly food blog event hosted by Rumana from Spice Ur Senses: My Way of Cooking.


WHB #276: Bubur Ketan Hitam (Black Glutinous Rice Pudding with Coconut Milk)

As a kid I always love bubur ketan hitam, a rice pudding made from black glutinous rice and served with coconut milk. In Bali and Nusa Tenggara islands, this dessert is as known as bubur injin. It is similar with bubur pulut hitam in Malaysia and Singapore. Years ago my mum often cooked it for snacks and it was me who ate it all, mostly. I just loved the combination of the sweet sticky pudding and the salty sauce.

Every bubur ketan hitam recipe I found online is served with coconut milk sauce only. But here in Bandung (as well as some other region) I found a distinctive style: it served together with bubur kacang hijau (a kind of mung bean compote) by the street food vendors. When first tasted the mixture of both eight years ago I was quite amazed, I like them better when served separately.

These bubur ketan hitam vendors are rarely found around my neighborhood. They usually appeared around my campus and even then only certain days—most notably in Friday, coincided with Pasar Salman. So when I craved for it yesterday afternoon, I went to the traditional market nearby and bought some black glutinous rice. Then I made a small batch for myself at home this morning. It was dead simple! Perfect for this week Weekend Herb Blogging #276 which hosted by Cinzia from the Cindystar. (Oh, non può aspettare per questa settimana raccolta!)

Bubur ketan hitam.

Black Glutinous Rice Pudding with Coconut Milk
(Bubur Ketan Hitam)

  • 1500 ml water
  • 150 g black glutinous rice (rinsed and soaked overnight)
  • 1 pandanus leaves
  • 150 g brown sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 200 ml thin coconut milk
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 pandanus leaves

Preparation method:
  1. Bring water to boil with black glutinous rice and pandanus leaf. Cook until thickened in medium heat. Season with brown sugar and salt, take off heat.
  2. In simmer heat, cook coconut milk with salt and pandanus leaf until boiling.
  3. Serve rice pudding with coconut milk sauce while still warm.
Yield 2-3 serves.

The main ingredient ketan, or glutinous rice, is a type of short-grained rice grown in Asia, that is especially sticky when cooked. It is called 'glutinous' in the sense of being glue-like and not of containing gluten. This rice can be used either milled (bran removed) which is white in color, or unmilled—whereas the bran can give a purple or black color. However, black and purple glutinous rice are different strains from the white. Both are widely used in Southeast and East Asian culinary.


Mozzarella Chick in Tomato Paste with Hugs and Wishes

Time does travel fast. I can't believe this is the third week of March already. Eventually I get more and more anxious every single second because of an academic deadline. But I'm not gonna talk more about it for in fact this blog is my escape from thesis madness.

Well today, March the 20th, is the birthday of a friend whom now working somewhere in the middle east. The last time we've seen each other was last May or June, at his farewell before joining French Foreign Legion. That night he (and Dita) made us a huge pot of delicious penne alfredo and fruit salad.

I remembered every time our fun gang hang out we always involved food. Our favorite spots were a sushi restaurant at Sumatra street, a grilled rib street-food vendor at Cipaganti, soto (Indonesian traditional soup) and seafood in Cilaki, and, a Thai suki and grill restaurant at Cihampelas. Oh yes, we are all avid eaters. (I really miss them.) So, today, I'd like to share food on their honor. (Ahem!)

Actually, at first I thought of sharing some bakpao. It used to be our birthday boy's 'favorite' dish. But unfortunately I have not been adept at making dough. So I opt to share something else. Something that I made up on my own, at random, a few months ago..

(Well, actually, I watched too much Jamie at Home at that time, especially the episode Pizza. Then this recipe popped up in my head, just like that.)

Mozarella chick in tomato paste.

Mozarella Chick in Tomato Paste, with Wild Rocket Salad

  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 1 chili (seeded and finely chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano (or a pinch dried)
  • 1 fresh regular basil (or a pinch dried)
  • 2 rods fresh rosemary (or a pinch dried)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • a great pinch of salt
  • a pinch of pepper
  • 150 g chicken thigh (with or without bone)
  • 25 g mozzarella cheese (sliced)
  • A handful of wild rocket
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ lemon (squeeze out juice)
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of pepper

Preparation method:
  1. Pre-heat oven 180°C/356°F.
  2. Boil tomatoes briefly, peel off skin and smash with your hand until become a lumpy paste. Add chili, balsamic vinegar, oregano, basil, rosemary, garlic powder, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Get your chicken on a bakeware, coat it with tomato paste, put sliced mozzarella on top, cover with wet baking paper. Bake it for 45 minutes.
  4. Dress the wild rocket in a large bowl with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Toss it with your hand.
  5. Serve mozzarella chick together with the wild rocket salad.
Yield 1 serve.

I also would like to send hugs for them along with this dish, especially for the birthday boy.

Happy birthday Blobs, wish you all the best.


A Gift for GrowinKitchen

We got an anonymous package today! With our name misspelled as Grown Kitchen :)
Sealed in a tight box. With the bombing issues happening in Jakarta, this package gives us quite a fright. At first I have no idea how to open it, I've tried with fork and spatula. Of course, it didn't work.
Then I remembered having a hammer, and Mala help me with it. Apparently the package contained two bottles of palm oil, a tube of margarine, a small cookbook, a can of soda and a mug; from sukamasak.com, for being their first 100 members.
Well, thank you very much :)

This post is not an advertisement.


WHB #275: A Taste of Semur Betawi

What do you think about tasting semur betawi on St. Patrick's day? Me, very excited. And I hope you're with me because I want to share you some.

(Actually I really want to share this with my housemate Mala too, whose birthday is today, but unfortunately she doesn't eat beef. So, it's just happy birthday I guess.)

Semur betawi is a Batavian beef stew dish. There's quite a few version of semur recipes in our culinary. I got this one from Kompas Female and it is said to be the original semur betawi recipe from RM. Betawi Hj. Amih at Jakarta Timur. This one is salty sweet, but basically taste the same with the other beef stew recipes.

Semur most essential ingredient is sweet soy sauce, a condiment prepared by fermenting soybeans with mold (commonly used is either Aspergillus oryzae or Aspergillus sojae) for around six to twelve months. Later the fermented beans are pressed and strained to take the liquid known as soy sauce. (Read more about the process here.)

As usual, I make a little ingredients improvement and experiment a different style. I will share the other version of semur later, but for now let's see what's in this one..

Batavian Beef Stew
(Semur Betawi, adapted from Kompas Female)

  • 5 large shallots
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • ½ tablespoon of finely chopped ginger
  • 3 candlenuts (fried)
  • ½ teaspoon shrimp paste
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons sweet soy sauce
  • 5 tablespoons palm oil
  • 2 cm galangal (bruised)
  • 2 salam leaves
  • 2 stalks lemon-grass (bruised)
  • 100 g beef (preferably filet mignon or tenderloin)
  • 1 large potato (peeled and cut to your taste)
  • oil for frying
  • 5 green beans (chopped)
  • 1 small carrot (chopped)
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 250 ml water
  • 1 teaspoon white peppercorn (toasted)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin (toasted)
  • Fried shallot and garlic for serving

The refined spices looked like this.

Preparation method:
  1. Refine shallot, garlic, ginger, candlenut, shrimp paste and salt using mortar and pestle.
  2. Mix the refined spices with soy sauce, oil, galangal, salam leaf and lime-grass.
  3. Marinate the beef and store it for 1 hours.
  4. Meanwhile, fry the potato until golden brown.
  5. Boil green bean and carrot briefly, stain from water. Saute onion with oil, then add green beans and carrot.
  6. In a pan, stir in beef sauce until aromatic, add the beef and water. Cook until half liquid evaporate.
  7. Ground white peppercorn and cumin.
  8. In a plate, arrange beef and fried potato. Pour in the sauce, sprinkle with white pepper and cumin. Serve with green beans and carrot.
Yield 1 serve.

My Batavian beef stew experiment.

There's a little story behind the name of batavia and betawi. For as far as I know (and you must know that I'm not brilliant in history), batavia is a latin name for the land of Batavians in Roman times. Batavi itself probably derived from batawjō (now betawu), meaning 'good island'. It (batavi) is the name of an ancient Germanic tribe, the ancestor of the Dutch. Later, the term Batavians refers to them as they promoted themselves so during the Renaissance.

Subsequently, they took the name Batavia to their colonies. Includes a city they founded in Indonesia in 1619. The city now called Jakarta, the capital of our Republic, and its inhabitants called the betawi people. (I'm not really sure where the term betawi came from, perhaps derivation from batavi.) Instead of name, this colonization also brought European culinary influence to the creation of semur betawi.

Or at least I thought so.
Oh well, let's leave the business to historians. I'm done typing now.

A Taste of Semur Betawi is written as a Weekly Herb Blogging #275 entry, hosted by Chris from Mele Cotte.


Bakpia, the Sweetened Bit of Yogyakarta

Before we start, GrowinKitchen would like to convey deep condolences to victims of tsunami quake in Japan, especially for our friends and colleagues there: may God protect you all. Hugs and kisses.

Last weekend me and family went to Yogyakarta to visit my aunt. This town has always been my favorite for its culture; beautiful tour sites, unique traditional textiles and crafts and, of course, food!

So far I have been experienced quite some of Yogyakarta culinary. From gudeg at Wijilan street to beef satay in Beringharjo market, to soto and wedang secang in Gejayan, to nasi kucing and kopi arang at Angkringan, to vintage ice cream in Mangkubumi street, to rujak es krim, jadah, bacem, pecel, cenil.. and many more. But, my favorite is always bakpia kumbu kacang hijau. It's a kind of pastry puff filled with mashed mung beans.

Bakpia kumbu kacang hijau.

This cake is a descent of Chinese tou luk pia, which means 'mung bean cake'. Bakpia began to be produced in Pathok village, Yogyakarta, around 1948, and was traded in baskets without label until 1980, when these commodities began to be packaged appropriately and trademarked with the maker's house number. Bakpia business was developed rapidly since then, and became booming in 1992. There have been some development in bakpia filling, such as durian, cheese and chocolate too. Yet I think mung bean is still the best (followed by cheese).

For over twenty years now, bakpia have been famous as souvenirs from Yogyakarta. Even my mother would never leave the town without it. She bought fifteen boxes last weekend, and I took two..

The sweetened bit of Yogyakarta.
Smooth and delish!

But these, are the bribes for my boss and colleagues (because I suddenly skive off work yesterday, hehe). And for you, I already prepared a bakpia recipe from my relative as souvenir.

Bakpia Kumbu Kacang Hijau


       Mung bean filling:
  • 100 g mung beans (soak in water for 2 hour, peeled)
  • 1 pandanus leaf 
  • 100 g brown sugar
  • 20 ml oil
  •  ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

      Batter A:
  • 250 g all-purpose flour
  • 75 ml vegetable oil
  • 150 ml water (or substitute it with milk)
  •  ½ teaspoon salt
  • 50 g cane sugar
  • 5 g butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

       Batter B:
  • 250 g all-purpose flour
  • 150 ml oil

Preparation method:
  1. Pre-heat oven 180°C/356°F.
  2. Steam mung beans with pandanus leaf for 20 minutes. Take off the leaf then mashed the beans. Add brown sugar, oil and vanilla. Stir well, set aside.
  3. Mix flour with oil, water, sugar, butter and vanilla until smooth. Form a spherical shape, cover with damp cloth, set aside.
  4. Mix flour with oil until well blended.
  5. Take 15 g of batter A, flatten and top with 10 g of batter B. Flatten again until thin and long, then roll, fold from left to right, flatten again, set aside. (Just like making puff pastry.) Repeat with the rest of the two batters.
  6. Take one of batter mix, fill it with a bit of mashed mung bean, form small spherical shape, put in the baking tray. Repeat with rest of batter and filling.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes, take off the oven, flip the cake the bake again for another 10 minutes. Flip again and bake for 5 minutes, flip again and put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes. (Total baking time 30 minutes, but if you bake it for 15 minutes straight the cakes will crack.)
  8. Let cool at room temperature. 
Yield 25 pieces.

I might not have test the recipe on my own (someday I will) but I did have watch the making and taste the result, and it was great. So, good luck, dear!


Simply Superb Italian-style Swiss Chard

It's murky in here. The kitchen light is broken, and nobody intends to fix it yet. Not that I don't want to, but the ceiling is almost four meters in height and I'm kinda high-phobic. Not in freaky way though. It's just every time I stepped a little higher above the ground my feet shakes and gives me anxiety. But I still enjoyed my every flight, it's a different circumstance.

Anyway, the situation reminds me of a café, here in Bandung, which concept is serving customers to eat in darkness. They said that it is a more sensational eating experience. Well, I think we—me and my housemates—'ve beat them. Not only eating, we've been cooking in dark too for the last three days. I don't know which one is more sensational: trying to scoop the food that barely visible, or trying not to cut our fingers instead of onion, or burn our food for that matter..

Thereupon I prefer cook an easy dish today. I have two packs of Swiss chard (also known as silverbeet or spinach beet), one ruby and one yellow, that I bought yesterday from the food market. As a matter of fact, I never cooked chard before because it is quite hard to find here. But I've read somewhere (I forgot, sorry) on the web that chard is garlic's and chili flakes' best friend, this is said to be Italian-style chard. So I'm experimenting..

Italian-style Swiss chard.

Italian-style Swiss Chard

  • 75 g spaghetti
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • a pinch of coarsely ground black pepper
  • 150 g Swiss chard (stem removed, separate leaves from stalks, cut both into one-inches)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic (finely chopped)
  • 3 medium-sized chili flakes (finely chopped)
  • a pinch of salt
  • grated Parmesan cheese (or cheddar cheese)
  • Italian parsley leaves for serving

Preparation method:
  1. In a large pan, boil spaghetti with salt until al dente.
  2. Heat a skillet, put in olive oil, strain the spaghetti straight into the pan, season with black pepper. Set aside.
  3. Bring water into boil, put in chard stalks and cook for one minute. Add the leaves and cook it for another minute.
  4. Saute garlic with olive oil, add chili flakes until aromatic. Turn off heat, add chard and toss until all covered with oil, season with salt.
  5. In a plate, arrange spaghetti and put the chard on top. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and parsley leaves.
Yield 1 serve.

No wonder if Swiss chard is called spinach beet, for it is indeed taste like spinach with beet stalk. The ruby chard also gives magenta nuance to the dish, just like beet. So my spaghetti has a beautiful purple-pink vibe.

Magenta-nuanced spaghetti.

I gotta tell you this is my favorite. Superb simple dish! I have looked up for chard nutritions here, and turned out that it has high nutrition benefits for blood sugar, antioxidant and bone health. So it is not only simple, but also healthy food. Oh, this is so brightening my day. Yum!


WHB #274: (Lacy) Pancake Day

When Michael of Me, My Food and I mentioned Pancake Day to me, my left eyebrow raised and I mumbled, 'What day?'

At first I have no idea what he's talking about, because I never heard of this food occasion before. But then I looked up on BBC Food and found it filed on Occasions: March 8th, Pancake Day.

It is funny enough that I spent most of my spare time browsing on the site, but never really paid attention to that particular section. And, coincidentally, I made roti jala with tuna salad for today breakfast. I've planned to share it for Weekly Herb Blogging #274, which hosted by Winnie from Healthy Green Kitchen, some time this week. But then I reconsidered, why not posting it now? Could it be more perfect than today? Nope. Thanks to Michael for telling me inadvertently.

Roti jala literally translated as net bread, but some people called it as lacy pancake too. It is more savory than common pancakes, because the use of coconut milk. I've known this as a side dish from Aceh, but it also widely found in Malaysian cuisine. In Aceh, roti jala usually served along lamb curry. Since I don't have any curry, nor enough time to cooked it, instead I used leftover tuna and wild rocket dressed with vinagraitte. Surprisingly, they worked very well together.

Roti jala with tuna salad.

Roti Jala with Tuna Salad

  • 250 g self-raising flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 500 ml coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (or melted butter in the same amount)
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1½ tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon of cumin powder
  • ½ bird's eye chili (seeded and finely chopped, optional)
  • 150 g tuna in oil
  • 1 pack of wild rocket

Preparation method:
  1. Mix flour with salt, egg, coconut milk and olive oil (or butter). If you don't have roti jala mold (like me) just put the mixture in a plastic, bind tightly and cut one end.
  2. Pre-heat pan and put in a little butter until melted. Pour the mixture in circular order to form a net (or anyway you like it). Allow pancake to set on top then flip. Repeat to the rest of the batter.
  3. Put oil, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, cumin and bird's eye chili in a jar. Add 1 tablespoon oil from tuna, shake well.
  4. In a large bow, mix tuna and wild rocket. Dress with the vinagraitte.
  5. Serve roti jala and tuna salad together in a plate.
Yield 8 serves.

Happy Pancake Day (and International Women's Day)!


Opor Ayam Special for WHB #273

Hi there, long time no see. How are you doing?
Happy Nyepi (or Balinese Lunar New Year) for those who celebrate.

Last Monday I found a link to Weekend Herb Blogging (WHB) from Indonesia Eats; the link brought me to Haalo whose cook (almost) everything, whom managing the event. WHB was created by accident in Kalyn's kitchen, October 2005. And now, experiencing its 5th year, have been gathered food bloggers from all over the world in one community. Isn't it amazing?

Shortly after reading the recaps I decided to join the party this week, which is host by Yasmeen the health nut. So I spent almost the whole week sorting topics and opor ayam was the chosen one. It is an Indonesian chicken dish originated from central to eastern part of Java islands. This is usually served to enliven Eid ul-Fitr in our tradition.

Opor uses loads of ingredients that refined and poached along with coconut milk and, of course, the chicken. Among the ingredients are kaffir lime (Cytrus hystrix DC.) leaves that give a distinctive tangy trait to the dish.

The use of kaffir lime juice and leaves is quite popular in Indonesian cuisine—especially Sumatran, Javanese and Balinese—also in Malaysian and Burmese, as neutralizer the stench of meat or fish to prevent nausea.

Opor ayam.

Opor Ayam
(Adapted from The Best of Indonesian Cooking)

  • 1 small free range chicken (cut into eight or leave whole)
  • 1 lemon (squeeze the juice out)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seed
  • 4 candlenuts
  • ½ teaspoon white peppercorn
  • ½ teaspoon chopped turmeric
  • ½ tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 1 tablespoon chopped galangal
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 7 shallots
  • 3 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cane sugar
  • 2 stalks lemon-grass (bruised)
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 3 salam leaves (can be substitute with bay leaves)
  • 750 ml thin coconut milk
  • 250 ml thick coconut milk
  • a handful of lime basil leaves (optional).
  • Fried shallot for taste.

Preparation method:
  1. Soak chicken with lemon juice for 30 minutes then rinse off.
  2. Toast coriander, cumin and candlenut. Refine them using mortar and pestle, along with peppercorn, turmeric, ginger, galangal, garlic and shallot.
  3. Pre-heat a pan with oil. Add spice paste and stir until aromatic. Add tamarind juice, salt, cane sugar, lemon-grass, kaffir lime leaf and salam leaf.
  4. Put in the chicken until all coated with spices, add coconut milk. Continue to boil for 30 minutes, then add lime basil leaves. Cook for another 15 minutes.
  5. Serve in bowl, sprinkle with fried shallot.
Yield 2 serves.

Well, opor ayam had practically taken a great part of my childhood memories. It reminds me of my late grandmother who loved to cook this dish specially for me. A long nostalgic story it is, but I am not going to bored you with that. So.. have a nice weekend everyone!